Microsoft makes Bing more private
Peter Cullen, chief privacy strategist at Microsoft, said that the company will completely delete data about the Internet addresses that its users search from after six months."Under our current policy, as soon as Microsoft receives a Bing search query we take steps to de-identify the data by separating it from account information that could identify the person who performed the search," Cullen said. "Then, at 18 months, we take the additional step of deleting the IP address, the de-identified cookie ID and any other cross-section IDs associated with the query."
Under the new system, data will still be de-identified straight away, but the company has shaved a whole year off the window during which it keeps its users' IP address data. This is important, because it is still possible to use cookie information with de-identified Internet protocol data to get a handle on which users are searching for what.
Compare this with Google, which keeps cookie information for the same amount of time as Microsoft, but which keeps IP addresses in full, only de-identifying them (not deleting them) after nine months.
In short, this seems to mean that your privacy when searching via Bing is going to be much more protected than it will be when searching via Google. Given the comments that Eric Schmidt, Google CEO, made a few weeks ago about privacy (basically, there isn't any, and users shouldn't expect it), it should give users food for thought when choosing which search engine to opt for when finding stuff online.
Microsoft has shown itself to be much more responsible about security in the past few years (in spite of recent security flaws in its Internet Explorer browser). Could it be about to claim the high ground when it comes to privacy, too?
Danny Bradbury, MSN Tech & Gadgets